I’m happy to let you know that I passed the OCAJP 8 exam this morning, with a score of 95%! I didn't want just to pass the exam, I wanted to pass with a good score, because it means that I learned with all the preparation.
Well, let me talk with you a little about my preparation. It’s a long text, but I think it will help who wants to take this exam too.
I started to prepare myself on April, 17. So, it was something around 2.5 months of preparation. It was a hard process, because I work full-time.
I work as a Java developer for 2 years, but studying for this exam helped me to learn a lot of details that I didn't know about. Two years ago, I bought the book written by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates, to start my preparation for the OCAJP 7. But I was too busy, and didn't have a chance to prepare myself. Time passed, and I really decided to take OCAJP and OCPJP this year. Now, one is gone, and there is one left.
Good, but what did I do to be prepared for this day? Basically, I studied with the following resources:
- OCA Java Programmer I Study Guide by Jeanne Boyarsky and Scott Selikoff as the main guide
- OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Study Guide by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates and Core Java Vol 1, by Gary Cornell and Cay Horstmann, to reinforce my studies
- Coderanch forum
- Java Language Specification
- Java doc - Enthuware mock exams
And how did I study? Well, I created a study plan, based on studying one chapter of the study guide (by Jeanne and Scott) per week. And when I say studying one chapter per week, I mean:
- Read the chapter from the book, read about the subject on the other books that I mentioned, and code between the reading
- Create mind maps
- Create flash cards - Code again
- Read the mind maps and study the flash cards - Take the chapter mock exam of the study guide
After doing it for the entire book, I took the 3 mock exams from the Sybex Study Guide, then I studied my mind maps and flash cards, and reinforced my knowledge about what I was doing wrong, and then I started to take the Enthuware Mock Exams.
So, let's talk separately about my path.
OCA Java 8 Study Guide (Sybex), OCA/OCP Java SE 7 (K & B), Core Java (Gary and Cay)
The books are great. They gave me a lot of information. The Sybex study guide does cover all the objectives, and gives a lot of tips about the real exam, like what to pay attention to, what to avoid, and so on. The study guide by K & B and Core Java are also great books. I used them as a reference about some subject.
Coderanch Right, here we are. I don't know how to say how much I learned in this forum. If you want to learn Java, pay attention to this forum. There is a lot of information here. The ranchers here do an amazing volunteer job transfering their knowledge. I don't know how to thank the ranchers that helped me in this journey. I would like to remember some of them. First, I would like to thank Roel De Nijs for the tons of information that he gave me. He always helped me in my topics directly, and also in other topics of other ranchers that I read. I always read a lot of topics of this forum, and Roel is always there, encouraging us to think and study, and giving precious informations. I would also like to thank Henry Wong and Campbell Ritchie for the information they provided in other ranchers' topics (and Henry has answered some of my topics too). These three guys always have precise and useful information. Of course, there are more ranchers that helped me, but it's hard to remember all of them. I want to thank the entire Coderanch Forum.
Code Yes, you have to code a lot in order to learn and get used with the compiler. My text editor's project explorer is full of code. I used the code provided in the books or in the mock exams, and changed it to try various combinations.
Enthuware mock exams If you want to learn about the objectives, to learn how to manage your time, and get used with the exam style, you must do the Enthuware mock exams. I've been taking Enthuware mock exams for the last 2.5 weeks, and I learned a lot, because after I finished a test, I reviewed all the questions, reading carefully all the explanations and writing down what I did wrong and what I should remember. The explanations are great, and you always learn something new. Also, I learned to manage my time, so I could pass through all the questions and still have time to review my answers. The Enthuware mock exams are very realistic in relation to the real exam. It definitely worth the money.
Here are my scores in Enthuware tool:
- Foundation Test: 86%
- Test 1: 83%
- Test 2: 89%
- Test 3: 83%
- Test 4: 91%
- Test 5: 89%
- Test 6: 93%
- Test 7: Didn't take it. Maybe I'll take it next weekend just to complete haha
- Last Day Test: 93%
The Real Exam Day Well, since there is no test center in my city, I needed to travel to another one. So I did, on Sunday, and I was so anxious about the exam, that I woke up suddenly after a bad dream about missing the exam :S. During the exam, I tried to do it patiently, trying not to rush the situation. I had enough time to answer the questions, then I reviewed the unanswered questions, and then I reviewed the marked questions. After all this, I had time to go through the other questions just to check.
I think I know one of the questions that I answered incorrectly. It's about StringBuilder. I believe it's the only thing that I didn't test in my codes hahaha.
Concluding, it was a hard process. Everyday, after a hard day of work, I studied through the entire night, with a little help of a good coffee. The best thing that I earned with all of this is the knowledge. I learned a lot of details about Java. That was my intention.
Now, the next step is the OCPJP 8 exam. I plan to take it on December. I'm just waiting my new books to arrive, and then I'll start this new path. For now, I'll have a week of break.
Now, I just want to leave a message for the ranchers that helped me. I would like to thank again the ranchers that helped me directly or indirectly, like Roel de Nijs, Henry Wong, Campbell Ritchie and everyone who answered or asked something that helped me during my preparation. I also want to thank Jeanne Boyarsky, Scott Selikoff, Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates, Gary Cornell and Cay Horstmann for providing such a good books. I ordered the new Core Java Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and the OCP Study Guide from Sybex. I will have some fun until the end of the year . And, I would like to thank everyone that is responsible for the Enthuware tool. You guys have done a great tool, and helped me a lot.
Well, that's it guys, thanks for everything.
Now, you are going to help me on the OCP forum, and I'll be around, trying to help the ranchers who want to take the OCA exam too.
I apologize if I made a lot of mistakes in my text. I'm just tired, but I wanted to share with you my achievement.
That's it. See you around.
And Roel, I don't know if I'm going to be able to find a belgian beer around here, but I'll do my best. Any recommendations?